Walker School was excited to host more than 400 fourth grade students for tours and planned activities to help them learn about their future school. More than 60 current fifth grade peer mentors were on hand to answer questions, facilitate team building exercises, and most importantly, put these future Walker Wolverines at ease about their upcoming transition.
That evening, students were invited back with their families for an Open House, starting with a pizza dinner at 5:30pm in the cafeteria, presentations from 6:00-6:45 p.m. in the auditorium, and a scavenger hunt from 6:45-7:30 p.m.
The Charlottesville City Schools division has six elementary schools (grades preK-4) that feed into Walker Upper Elementary School (grades 5-6).
For more information about this and other programming planned by our wonderful Walker Upper Elementary School Counseling Team, please visit their blog at https://bit.ly/2qoLO72.
Charlottesville City Schools is pleased to announce that Dr. Adam Hastings will be the next principal of Walker School.
Dr. Hastings comes from Piedmont Virginia Community College, where he has been the Dean of Business, Mathematics, and Technology. He has an extensive background at Charlottesville City Schools: he has served on the School Board, he was director of CATEC, and he was assistant principal at CHS. Working in other area school divisions, he began his career teaching English and has experiences at the elementary, middle, and high school-level.
Read more about Dr. Hastings
Dr. Hastings earned his B.A. in English at NC State, his M.A. at UNC Chapel Hill, and his Ed.D. at U.Va. Through his professional connections, his School Board service, and his own personal interests, he has been very involved with the Charlottesville community as well as statewide organizations.
Thanks to the Walker community for participating in this search through committee service, survey responses, and attending a search committee forum. Dr. Hastings was selected from a very strong pool of applicants and will begin serving on July 1. Please join us in welcoming him to the Walker community.
A Letter from Dr. Hastings
April 13, 2018
Dear Walker Families and Community Members:
What a pleasure it is to write to you as I begin my new role as your principal!
I believe that strong schools must be community schools, schools in which students, parents, families, community members, faculty, and staff work toward a common goal of excellence for every student. From shared-decision making to effective, real time communication, I look forward to growing our culture of collaboration.
Today, Walker is your school. As we work together, build trust, and—so very importantly—have fun, Walker will become our school. It is my distinct privilege to take this journey with each and all of you.
Throughout the interview process and in recent conversations, several big challenges stand out as opportunities for growth.
How can we create a schedule that meets the needs—developmental and instructional—of our students?
How should we impact our school climate and grow our school culture to foster student happiness, empowerment, and success?
How should we balance instructional goals with developmental needs within a two-year program that includes the pros and cons of both elementary and middle school structures?
What can we do to engage parents and families in regular, impactful communication and collaboration?
These are big questions, indeed. Answers will require a community of resources and—above all—trust. I trust each and every one of you implicitly; as we learn and grow together, I hope to earn your trust in return.
Although I do not begin my role officially until July, my inbox is open and my calendar is free. Please, contact me; no issue is too big or small. If you see me around town, I’d love to talk and meet your students. If I am with my family, they’ll be happy to meet you, too.
With hope and excitement for a great spring and summer,
STEM & Hands-on Fun for Rising 7-10th Graders, June 19-30
Rising 7-10th graders can enjoy a wide range of hands-on, skill-based STEM and technical academies at CATEC. From culinary arts to IT/engineering to firefighting, these academies give a glimpse of CATEC’s offerings and are organized as part of PVCC’s Kids College summer program.
KidsCollege scholarships available based on financial need. CATEC Foundation scholarships area available for rising 10th graders to attend KidsCollege@CATEC academies.
Here are just a few highlights of what has been happening lately in the Fine Arts program at Charlottesville City Schools.
The annual CHS Symphony/Chorus/Fine Arts Celebration featured all of the Charlottesville High School fine arts in one evening. The performance combined the talents of the CHS Symphony, CHS Choir, CHS Jazz Band, CHS Visual Arts, and CHS Theatre. CHS Choir teacher Will Cooke noted that eight CHS Choir alumni were also singing among the choir.
CHS orchestra teacher Laura Thomas credits the strong foundational programs in the elementary and middle schools for enabling the successes at the high school.
“The Symphony Orchestra is the product of so many behind the scenes, long-term arrangements and effort,” said Thomas during her remarks to the audience. “In Charlottesville, it starts at the elementary schools where we have such a solid general elementary music program. And then in fifth grade at Walker, where many choose an instrument and or continue to sing. And then, we have this world-class music program at Buford, and at the high school we schedule the String Ensemble and the Wind Ensemble at the same time, so that we can actually combine to rehearse and create this wonderful thing. I was just telling my students a couple days ago, ‘This doesn’t happen everywhere. The symphony orchestra is really a rare thing at a high school.’ I am so very, very proud of this symphony orchestra, and I hope you are too.”
To view selections from the performance, use the following links:
The Walker Upper Elementary School fifth grade beginner band and the Buford Middle School jazz band both recently performed for their schools. Walker band teacher Susan Allen showcased each section of the band–brass, woodwinds, and percussion–to teach the audience about the different instruments.
17 Buford Middle School musicians made the 2018 Junior Regional Orchestra! The JRO auditions were held on January 27 at Jouett Middle School and included musicians from Lynchburg, Roanoke, and Cville/Albemarle. Each student played two scales, two prepared excerpts, and a sight-reading selection. The JRO event will take place on March 23-24 at Heritage High School in Lynchburg.
For the month of February, artwork by Johnson Elementary students is on display at Charlottesville City Hall and artwork by CHS students is featured in the teen section of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.
CHS art students in Ms. Mildonian’s classes have been painting portraits for children of Puerto Rico who were affected by the hurricanes last year. In partnership with memoryproject.org, these artists are using photographs of the children to create special keepsakes which will be hand-delivered to the children when they are completed.
“We want our kids to understand that sharing kindness through artistic expression can be really meaningful,” said Mildonian. Hopefully, these paintings will make the children of Puerto Rico, many who have lost everything, feel loved and not forgotten.”
What happens when second grade students combine art, reading, and STEM all in one unit? Clark Elementary students make bioluminescent creatures using circuits and glow paint! This illuminating cross-curricular activity was inspired by the Hot Read of the Month, “Glow: Animals that Make Their Own Light.” iSTEM teacher Teresa Amasia helped the students design their own light-up sea creatures by building a suspended pendulum and using glow in the dark paint.
The CCS Faculty Art Exhibit, a long-standing tradition for Charlottesville City Schools, is now on display in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performance Arts Center (MLK-PAC) lobby from January 22, 2018 to March 26, 2018. The show features drawings, paintings, photographs, sculpture, digital art and mixed-media created by faculty and staff members who work for the nine schools in our division. With more than 20 participants, the exhibit includes works from visual art teachers, school counselors, instructional assistants, administrators, and other support staff. Read more about it here.
CHS art students took a field trip to the Second Street Gallery to view Adejoke Tugbiyele’s multi-media exhibit “Language of the Heart.” Internationally known, Tugbiyele’s work draws from her experience as a Nigerian-American. She uses a combination of installation, sculpture, video, photography, drawings, and collaborative performance as a metaphor for self-progress. She worked with our students to create a collaborative, mixed-media figure of a superhuman. Special thanks to the artist and to SSG Director and Chief Curator, Kristen Chiacchia, and Outreach Director, Lou Haney for providing this opportunity.
TheatreCHS is busy putting the finishing touches on the upcoming production, “South Pacific.” Tickets are on sale now for the performance which runs February 22-25, 2018 at the MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting http://theatrechs.seatyourself.biz.
The annual Venable Elementary School Soul Fest will be held on February 16 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. In addition to great food, the event includes some amazing performers who will join the third grade chorus and first grade presenters this year. Thanks to Jon Lohman and the Virginia Folklife Program, the students will perform along with former musical director for the Virginia State University Gospel Choir Cora Harvey Armstrong, a renowned gospel singer from Virginia. In addition, Mr. Benjamin Nussbaum’s fourth grade class will present their video, “The Rainbow Schoolbus Goes Deep Into Protesting,” which was showcased at the Virginia Film Festival earlier this fall.
The CHS Marching Band travelled to London to march in the 2018 London New Year’s Day parade. The largest New Year’s parade in the world, it includes more than 8,000 performers and an audience of 500,000 people. Band director Jason Hackworth helped plan the trip itinerary which included a tour of London’s most famous landmarks like Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower of London.
Congratulations to our 2017 Geography Bee school champs: fifth grade Walker student Elias Garcia and Buford seventh grader Aidan Peters (repeat winner)!
Our Minds in Motion Team XXL just gave a lively performance at TEDxCharlottesville at The Paramount Theater of Charlottesville. In partnership with the Richmond Ballet, Minds In Motion provides our Walker and Buford students a weekly opportunity to learn about dance, dedication, and performance.
Walker teacher Ms. Cynthia Scheiber was selected as Monticello Media’s Teacher of the Month for October. She won a Papa John’s Pizza party for all of her students and gifts from Cityspa Day Spa and Albemarle Dental Associates. She was honored all month on local radio stations. Congratulations!
A group of Buford Middle School boys went on a college tour to Hampden-Sydney College. While there, they got to visit with school president Larry Stimpert.
During Buford Career Day, students heard presentations from a variety of community businesses and organizations including the Charlottesville Fire Department, Peacock Auto Repair, and the CATEC nursing program.
Many Buford artists had their work up for auction at the City Schoolyard Garden’s annual Cultivar Youth Gallery Night and Benefit at Mas Tapas.
The Buford Band played a concert to honor veterans at James Monroe’s Highland in observance of Veteran’s Day. The program included the University of Virginia Army ROTC cadets and a living timeline of veterans from the American Revolution to Desert Storm.
Stage Left Productions is currently practicing for their upcoming play, Pinocchio, that will be presented on January 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Walker School.
UVA Engineering professor Greg Lewin and his first-year students visited Buford for a day of science and engineering demos. See a sample of the demos here.
After reading the book, A Long Way to Water by Linda Sue Park, students at Walker worked to determine the most effective way to carry water long distances.
New Peace Squad students attended a showing of Wonder. “This movie was a perfect way to celebrate this great group of students who ‘Choose Kind’ on a daily basis!” said adviser Charlotte Geddy.
The Minds in Motion Team XXL performed a dance at The Paramount Theater of Charlottesville as part of the TEDxCharlottesville event. Team XXL is comprised of dancers from Walker Upper Elementary School and Buford Middle School who have auditioned to participate in the dance troupe.
Sponsored by the Richmond Ballet Rhythm in partnership with Charlottesville City Schools, Minds in Motion is offered in our elementary schools to all fourth graders and continues as an optional after-school program in the upper elementary and middle school. Read more about all of our dance and theater options here.
The TEDxCharlottesville event, meant to inspire the community with “ideas worth spreading,” included a wide array of speakers and performers. Read more about TEDx here.
Six Buford Middle School engineers traveled to the National Museum of American History in D.C. At the Smithsonian, they ran a design challenge for CEOs and educational leaders. Brendan Martin and his students also presented their experiences and the tools they use, such as Seesaw and Trello.
As one response to the Charlottesville events of August 11-12, Mr. Cormier prompted his art students to consider a quote about “learning to love” by Nelson Mandela. Their beautiful artworks were then displayed along with the full quote on a wall in the cafeteria for all the school to see and learn from.
Buford PE classes were visited by the Charlottesville Cardinals wheelchair basketball team, offering an inspirational model for how to overcome challenges.
Walker School held its iSTEM Family Night in October, with marble mazes (for mastering mass) and a CSI crime scene to help students solve the Case of the Missing iPhone.
Walker students are using putting the fun in fundamentals. Students learned about human, natural, and capital resources by creating their own show, “Top Chef: Pizza Edition,” in Ms. Trent and Mr. Piedra’s classes. Other out-of-the box learning activities were English students performing “sentence surgery” in Ms. Stromberg’s classes, or art students using icing to create color-wheel cookies in Ms. Pagni’s classes.
During Mix It Up Day, 30 United Way volunteers played B-I-N-G-O at lunchtime to give our fifth and sixth grade students (sitting in mixed-up seating arrangements) a chance to get to know each other better!
Ninth-grader Anisha Tamang won 1st in the National Dance Foundation’s 2017 Middle School Art Contest! She made this award-winning collage last year at Buford.
The Walker Peace Squad raised nearly $900 to benefit hurricane victims and the “Concert for Charlottesville Fund” at the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.
Upcoming Days Off for Students: To mark the end of the first quarter, there will be a teacher workday (no school for students) on Friday, 27, October 27. Coinciding with Election Day is another break on Monday-Tuesday, November 6-7, while teachers have a professional learning day and a workday.
School registration: PowerSchool is an online tool to help schools, students, and families stay connected throughout the year. You can check grades and attendance and more. You can customize how you receive calls, emails, or texts. Make sure all of your students are added to your parent account. If you have not completed your online re-registration, please do so right away.
Across our schools, various fundraisers took place to help victims of recent events and natural disasters. The Walker Upper Elementary Peace Squad raised $868 for hurrican victims and the Concert for Charlottesville Fund.